ADEL — A major poultry producer with facilities in Cook and Colquitt counties is offering a bonus to workers with perfect attendance to help workers during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Sanderson Farms, the nation’s third-largest poultry producer, said in a statement Monday it will provide a temporary weekly attendance bonus for employees equivalent to $1 an hour for each hour worked. The incentive began Monday and will end Friday, June 26. 

Employees must have perfect attendance during the week in order to earn the bonus. The attendance bonus applies to all hourly positions, including new hires.

The company’s Georgia plants have not had any staffing problems related to the pandemic and the extra pay is not related to the issue of workers not coming in to work, said Mike Cockrell, chief financial and legal officer for Sanderson Farms.

“This was just to let the workers know we understand the anxiety they must be feeling at this time,” he said.

The pandemic has had an impact on the company, Cockrell said.

Sanderson Farms’ plant in Moultrie processes food mostly for grocery stores, while the Adel facility works mainly with food service operations such as restaurants, he said.

“The Moultrie plant has been operating full steam,” but there has been a dropoff in demand for the food service division, he said.

“With stay-at-home orders and restaurants ordered closed, it has been impacting us,” Cockrell said.

The company has been trying to shift as much of its food service operations to the grocery side as possible, he said.

“We’ve actually been getting job applications, what with so many people out of work,” Cockrell said.

The pandemic has affected Sanderson Farms in other ways. The company has imposed travel restrictions on employees, forbidding trips overseas, on cruise ships, to theme parks and to many U.S. “hot spots” for COVID-19, including Atlanta.

The company has also hired health care workers to screen everyone entering their facilities, turning away anyone with a temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more, Cockrell said.

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